Google has kicked off a series of programmes, rolling out throughout the month of June, to support small retailers in Africa.
The programme that will benefit small businesses, including in Kenya, is aimed at not only driving growth and recovery of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in post-Covid economy, but also help them thrive.
SMBs account for around 90 per cent of all businesses in Africa forming the backbone of economies in the different countries.
While these businesses account for 80 per cent of the region’s employment, the Covid-19 pandemic and restricted business activity over the past year have had, and continue to have, a significant impact on them and the livelihoods of millions.
Last year, the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) had warned that at least 75 of small and medium businesses in the country risked closure due to lack of funds in the pandemic.
This translates to close to eight businesses out of every 10, a situation the CBK governor Patrick Njoroge described as dire, and required quick interventions for a sector that accounts for 70 per cent of new jobs in the country.
The pandemic has pushed numerous businesses to inline platforms on reduced footfall at physical premises.
“As more consumers start their journey looking for products and services online, we want to do more to help retail small businesses digitise and better leverage online tools for growth,” Mojolaoluwa Aderemi-Makinde, Google’s head of brand and reputation for Africa, said in a statement Friday.
“One thing we know for sure is that when small businesses recover, African economies rebound and do well and this benefits everyone,”Mojolaoluwa added.
Activities planned by Google for the international small business month include the launch of a new Google for Small Businesses portal, to help small businesses find the solutions and guidance they need to get online and grow.
It has a series of SBM skills webinars aimed at helping small businesses use digital tools to connect with and grow their customer base.
Another tool is the Shop Small Friday-a social media video series highlighting and celebrating small businesses across the continent.
The Google for Small Businesses portal has been developed as a one-stop shop for small businesses to get started on the web and to grow their digital presence, helping them choose the appropriate tools for online success and the achievement of their business goals.
“This portal is all about supporting businesses as they get online. In a competitive business environment, digital technology helps to drive economic growth and job creation, while delivering valuable services to people in Africa,” adds Aderemi-Makinde.
This move comes less than a year after Google committed to helping more than 500, 000 businesses, jobseekers and vulnerable people with support packages including free business tools, training and grants.
These programmes are an illustration of Google’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that small retail businesses on the continent have the right tools and skills to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic and drive the continent’s economy once again, the firm says.
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